Decisions about how many children to have (if any) or what type of contraception to use are complex. For patients who are not health care providers, the doctor-patient relationship remains a critical relationship by which these sometimes difficult decisions are navigated. As a practicing gynecologist for 13 years, I continue to be mystified at how many women report to me a nearly complete lack of counseling prior to being prescribed ...

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As far as follow-up appointments go, this one was routine. My 65-year-old patient had undergone hip replacement surgery two weeks prior, and we discussed her pain level, progress with physical therapy, and eagerness to return to everyday activities. But as she stood up to leave the exam room, I could tell there was something left unsaid. She stepped out the door then stopped, turned around, and leaned in close to ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 32-year-old woman is evaluated for anticoagulation management after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery of a healthy newborn. She was diagnosed with a bilateral pulmonary embolism at 25 weeks' gestation and was treated with therapeutic low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH). The LMWH was discontinued at the onset of labor and was restarted 6 hours after ...

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The debate over the safety of giving birth at home, both for the mother and for the infant, has been debated for years. I’ve written about the issue myself. From time immemorial until about 75 years ago or so most babies were born at home. Now it’s around 1 percent in the U.S., although it’s much higher than that in many Western European countries. The shift to hospital births ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 48-year-old woman returns for a follow-up visit for management of type 1 diabetes mellitus. She reports doing well since the last visit. Overall, she believes that most of her blood glucose levels are at goal, but is concerned about occasional episodes of hyperglycemia occurring in the morning before breakfast. She eats ...

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There’s been a push lately for more explicit labeling of foods -- to make sure that consumers know that what they’re buying is organic, or free-range, or natural, or GMO-free, etc. But these labels don’t tell the whole story. Sometimes, they’re outright lies. For instance, “organic” veggies still contain plenty of pesticides. There are the natural pesticides that ordinarily occur in food, plus the organic-OK chemical pesticides that are ...

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I saw a patient last week for her chest pain. A 60-year-old woman came into the hospital because her chest tightened every time she went running. The pain would last about 20 minutes, centered on the left side of her chest, and radiated to her left arm. It lasted until she would finally take a break from running and sit down. “This is classic,” I thought. “Stable angina.” I could now ...

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In the last month, I have used the ICD-10 codes Z59.0 (homelessness), Z59.1 (inadequate housing) and Z59.9 (unspecified housing or economic problem) far more than I ever would have imagined. Several patients came into my urban clinic with varied chief complaints, including issues with uncontrolled asthma, chest pain, stress, worsening knee pain and sciatica. However, after listening and asking questions, I quickly realized that all of these initial complaints shared a ...

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It is a common experience to feel that our body has let us down when we get sick. We may feel it is broken or flawed in some way and if only it was better designed we wouldn’t have to suffer illness and disease. Likewise, we tend to consider illness and disease as something bad that has happened to us and which we associate with suffering of some kind, be ...

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Medcomic-Multiple-Sclerosis This Medcomic highlights some of the main features of multiple sclerosis (MS).  Although the exact cause of MS is unknown, the disease is thought to occur as an immune-mediated attack on the central nervous system (CNS). As you can see in the illustration, the white blood cells are attacking the neuron and causing inflammation, demyelination, and axonal degeneration that can manifest through ...

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